Ex-dealer apologises over illegal set-top boxes

Ex-dealer apologises over illegal set-top boxes
Daniel Chen Wenqiang has been charged with dealing in illegal cable television set-top boxes.

A former dealer in illegal television set-top boxes has apologised for taking part in the illegal trade after being caught.

Daniel Chen Wenqiang made his public apology in an advertisement in The Straits Times today.

He apologised "for having facilitated illegal access to StarHub's cable channels using unauthorised decoders", and undertook to stop all unlawful activities.

Chen had previously dealt in set-top boxes which allowed users to watch StarHub's channels for free by unscrambling the broadcast signal without authorisation.

Cable television broadcaster StarHub has since upgraded its security measures. Set-top boxes now require a security smartcard to decrypt signals.

Without this smartcard, the illegal boxes are ineffective.

"We have undertaken successful counter-piracy measures, and will continue to step up our efforts in combating piracy," said Ms Tan Lay Eng, vice-president of StarHub's systems and assurance.

"We strongly encourage consumers to acquire their TV content through legal sources," she added.

Chen's case was eventually settled out of court, but if he had been found guilty of the offences under the Broadcasting Act, he could have been jailed for up to three years, fined up to $40,000, or both. He was charged on May 7 with Shaun Foo Yong Chun, whose case is still before the courts.

The two were caught after StarHub raided a storage facility in September last year and found 233 illegal set-top boxes.

Foo was found at the storage facility during the raid, while Chen was the subscriber of three mobile phone numbers found on fliers advertising the set-top boxes.

This article was first published on Nov 10, 2014.
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